Advertising
Advertising

5 Reasons Productivity is the Most Powerful Investment of Your Life

5 Reasons Productivity is the Most Powerful Investment of Your Life

If I said you only needed to do one thing, just one thing, in order to improve every aspect of your life, what do you think it’d be?

  • Be more empathetic?
  • Be more charitable?
  • Be happier with what you already have?

No, no, and once again, no.

Yeah, all those things can make your life better, but even they pale in comparison to the real answer.

Want to know what it is? Productivity.

Productivity can improve the entirety of your life

Yes, it’s important that we strive to be more happy. And to be more positive. And to be more empathetic.

But here’s where productivity takes the cake – it can create real, TANGIBLE opportunities in your life.

Think about it, you’ve probably had those days where you’re just on point. Everything that needs to be done is done, and you can officially stop worrying about everything at that point.

Advertising

You freed up your mind and you’re time is to yourself.

Now imagine a day where you focused on seeing the happiness or positive in life, but you didn’t finish all your work. How do you feel? Your probably conflicted because your frustrated and stressed from not finishing your tasks, yet you’re trying to remain positive.

See the problem?

Trying to see the positive is best done by creating positive things in your life, not forcing the perspective of it. But you need to create time for positivity, right?

But how do you create the time for happiness, positivity, empathy, and more?

By mastering productivity.

5 benefits of mastering productivity

Next time you find yourself thinking “what can I do to improve myself?”, you should definitely start with mastering productivity…

Advertising

…and I’ll give you five smarts reasons why.

1. It creates time for your happiness and passions

What makes more sense?

  1. Trying to have a happier outlook about life
  2. Creating the time for happy experiences in life, which you can then act on

If you don’t know the answer, it’s this – experiences trump outlook every time.

Why? Because it’s reality. It’s something that’s real and actually happened to you, and will always inspire joy in you whenever you remember it.

This is the power of free time, and you can only get it if you get all your work done when it needs to be done.

2. It teaches discipline (and how to apply it to your whole life)

Everything that’s worth doing in life requires some level of discipline, and you know what requires discipline?

Productivity.

Advertising

Not only that, productivity is something that we need to do daily, which means we all get some discipline out of it. And all we need to do is apply that discipline to other rewarding activities in our lives.

Sure, there are some people who do only enough to get by, so they really don’t have any of the disciplinary benefits that a practiced person has.

But even applying just average discipline is enough to reach other goals you have in life, and productivity can give you that.

3. It teaches you how to manage your time (which can be used for yourself and on loved ones)

No amount of positive thinking can get you more time for yourself and your loved ones.

But efficient working? That definitely can.

Productivity teaches you how to look at your work, then a clock, and say “I have (x) amount of time to complete this and this, but if I also do this then I can have some free time tomorrow.”

This means more personal and family time. This is something everybody wants, yet it seems to be a struggle for most. Yeah, some people truly don’t have any extra time despite what they do, but they are the exceptions.

Advertising

Me and you both know that a little more productivity in our lives can get us that precious extra time we deserve.

4. It creates real-life opportunity (which can’t be attained by “thinking positively)

Nothing is more rewarding than productivity. How so? Because in addition to the sense of accomplishment that comes with it, it can be aimed at tangible goals as well (i.e. money, promotions, a fitter body, better writing skills, etc.).

It’s said that focusing solely on these types of desires is a bad thing, which is true to a point. But if these things can improve your productivity, then they work perfectly fine as milestone goals. You know, as something to grease the wheels and keep you going. There’s nothing wrong with that, despite what people may say.

All that matters is that eventually you tie your productivity into a worthy goal, which can be better achieved from productive practice (even if that productivity was primarily fueled by earning money.

5. It’s the only way to achieve your vision of happiness

The ultimate reason for productivity is this:

Productivity – and it alone – is the only way to reach your ideal vision of life.

Why? Because real productivity is about consistent, persistent, and deliberately chosen actions, and those things can get you anywhere in life.

Over to you! Are there any other benefits to mastering productivity? What are they? Leave a comment below with your response because I’d love to hear it :)

Featured photo credit: Numbers and Finance/Ken Teegardin via secure.flickr.com

More by this author

Ericson Ay Mires

Ericson is a writer who shares about work and productivity tips on Lifehack.

How to Not Get Distracted: 10 Practical Tips to Sharpen Your Focus laptop for editing pdf files 6 Useful Tools for Easy Viewing and Editing PDF Files You Need To Know 5 Reasons Productivity is the Most Powerful Investment of Your Life 5 Tips to Get Started Working NOW organized m&m's Getting Organized Effectively in 9 Easy Steps

Trending in Productivity

1 The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain) 2 What to Do When Bored at Work (And Why You Feel Bored Actually) 3 6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills 4 How to Concentrate and Focus Better to Boost Productivity 5 15 Productive Things to Do When Bored (So Time Is Not Wasted)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

Advertising

Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

Advertising

One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

Advertising

But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

Advertising

It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

More About Goals Setting

Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next